BY EMMA STONEHOUSE
A simple green bag is having a huge impact on the lives of children in the suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe.
Our partner Viva Network Zimbabwe (VNZ) works in areas of the city with high levels of poverty and abuse and homelessness, and with children who have been orphaned.
The network believes that these children deserve to lead a fulfilling and successful life, just like any other child.
One of the ways that VNZ aims to do this is through the Pavement Project.
It is vital for child development and recovery that children have support in dealing with the difficult situations they face and the circumstances which put them there.
In many of the community suburbs where the network is active, many children don’t have this support available.
A part of this inability of access might be because of cultural attitudes that prevent them from talking about their feelings and issues, as they can be viewed as unimportant by the adults around them.
The network is currently in its third year of implementing the Pavement Project.
Through counsellors, the project provides a space for children to explore their emotions and what has happened to them, in a safe environment.
Children are encouraged to talk about their fears and hurts through the aid of visual resources, which are kept in green bags! They also encounter the restorative power of Jesus through prayer and Bible stories.
Through these sessions, children have gained a restored sense of hope for the future and self-worth.
Acquinla started the sessions comparing herself to a glass that had been trampled on and shattered. Then, after three sessions, she was able to compare herself to a flying bird that had just escaped a trap – showing the amazing healing that this programme can provide.
Using the green bag, Josline, Maybe and Christine – sisters who had emotional issues and trauma due to an abusive home environment – were able to gain support, and their counsellors saw the children making large steps in communication with other children.
In the first six months of this year, the Pavement Project was able to reach over 1,000 children in Zimbabwe through 13 network member organisations, and this number continues to increase.
One VNZ counsellor said, “Every time I go through a session with a child, there is always a change in their self image and self worth!”
Who knew that a green bag could have such impact!
- Please continue to pray for VNZ, particularly that the network would be able to reach those vulnerable children who need their support the most. Also please pray for the counsellors doing the interventions: for strength and peace when dealing with these challenging situations.
- Please also pray for the current situation in Zimbabwe. The country is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade, with triple-digit inflation, unemployment above 90 per cent, acute shortages of foreign exchange, fuel and medicines, and rolling power cuts that have hit mines and industry. There are protests on the streets as a result.
Top photo: Julien Lagarde